Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rich Halley 4 - Back From Beyond (Pine Eagle Records, 2012)

This is a solid jazz session that uses the free-bop of the mid-1960’s Blue Note era as a jumping off point for a series of modern improvisations. The band consists of Rich Halley on tenor saxophone, wood flute and percussion, Michael Vlatkovich on trombone, percussion and squeak toys(!), Carson Halley on drums and percussion and Clyde Reed on bass. They have a good wide open feel and there is much space for the musicians to investigate the songs they play. Particularly interesting were “Spuds” which has a fast pace, with the band playing strong, aggressive hard-bop. After a thick, throbbing bass solo, drums enter into a duo configuration before Vlatkovich’s trombone comes forth to improvise over the rhythm. The following “Section Three” features a strutting full band stating the theme, before probing saxophone and trombone move in space they have a lengthy dialogue with growling saxophone giving way to a bass interlude. “Continental Drift” is quite exciting with a strong storming full band introduction morphing into a near funky interlude for trombone, bass and drums. Halley’s strong powerful saxophone keeps the brawny improvisation at a boil. After the short and mysterious “Broken Ground” which sounds like something Don Cherry might have recorded in the 1970’s featuring flute and shaken percussion getting an exotic feel, the group dives back into free-bop with “The Mountain's Edge” which has a powerful beginning followed by a lengthy angular saxophone solo over propulsive bass and drums. Trombone and saxophone then swirl and sway over the accompanying rhythm. Back from Beyond - amazon.com

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